An Eye for an Eye
Do cybernetic implants count as human remains? When you have parts inside you that are the intellectual property of others, where does the boundary of ownership lie — is it really *your* arm? And once total body replacement is available, can you still be held responsible for your actions since someone else made your synthetic brain?
We played Microscope Chronicle at Story Games Seattle, following the owners and implantees of a single cybernetic eye, and got into big, serious issues of humanity and futurism. Privilege, justice, sexism — we brought it all in. Justice also included a recurring theme of revenge and revenge’s place in society, as you might have guessed from the title. We were going for a very slow burn “Ghost in the Shell” vibe and I think we hit it on the nose.
One thing I personally wanted to avoid was the “corporations are all dark and nefarious” cliche, because once you paint one side as just evil, you stop giving them genuine motive, which oversimplifies interesting issues. To try and counteract that, I added “no corporations without a guiding societal ideology” to the Palette: a corporation has to have some vision of what they want society to be like, which forces us to think about what they’re really trying to accomplish and how they’re trying to shape the world.
Did it work? I think it totally did. Some of our corporations were terrible and misguided but they were following their own clear vision of how they thought humanity and society should evolve, which meant that as players engaging with them in the history was still interesting and fun. Like a lot of things on the Palette, just having that discussion at the start changed the way we thought and played.